Dane Aronsten will remember his fourth birthday for a special reason - it was the first time he was able to eat his birthday cake.
A rare set of complications from birth, including a heart condition and a severe form of reflux, had prevented the Mount Warrigal youngster from eating and drinking like other children his age, as he associated food with pain.
Last August, with Dane only gaining nourishment via a life-supporting feeding pump, his mum Janelle established a Facebook site called Help Dane Eat.
Her aim was to raise $15,000 so she could bring feeding specialist Dr Markus Wilken from Germany, to provide Dane with home-based tube-weaning treatment.
The community came on board and the target was reached, thanks in part to The Coffee Club Shellharbour, which raised almost $9000.
In November, Dr Wilken arrived and the treatment proved successful. But Dane's immune system remains an issue.
Sadly for Dane, he spent his actual birthday on August 10 in hospital because of an infection.
But he got a proper celebration, together with his twin sister Remi, on Saturday - complete with a Yo Gabba Gabba!-themed cake.
Ms Aronsten said it was sad watching Dane on his birthday.
"Each year, his twin sister wolfed down her cake but it was very different for Dane," she said.
"He pulled back in fear as I tried to put a dab of cream from his cake on his lips on his first birthday.
"He was filled with anxiety as his cake was put in front of him for his second birthday.
"On his third birthday, he was curious enough to stick his fingers in the blue icing and taste it, but preferred to play with decoration than take a bite.
"Finally, following the successful treatment late last year, he could be like other kids and be excited about getting stuck into it."
Ms Aronsten said she was very grateful to the community for helping to make this "feel-good story" happen.